Real Madrid’s flawless start to the campaign was put to a halt when they took on Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu on the weekend. Vinicius Jr’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Kike Garcia, which was enough as the visitors secured a point.
Madrid will look to get back to winning ways tonight as they take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti has made two changes to the team that graced the pitch on the weekend.
Antonio Rudiger is replaced by Eder Militao in the heart of the back-four, paired alongside mainstay David Alaba. The quartet is flanked by Dani Carvajal on the right, while Ferland Mendy takes up responsibility for the same on the left.
They will have the job of screening Andriy Lunin, who starts ahead of the injured Thibaut Courtois.
There is one change to the midfield as well, with Federico Valverde coming in to take over Dani Ceballos’ spot. Toni Kroos was one of the better performers against Osasuna, and retains his spot, while Aurelian Tchouameni, without competition, starts as the lone pivot.
Karim Benzema had a game to forget, missing what could have been the match-winning penalty. Despite that, his place in the lineup was never in contention, and he starts as the striker.
In his aid, he will have Vinicius on the left, while Rodrygo Goes continues in the starting XI on the right.
Confirmed Real Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.